Subcommittee Explores USDA Agency Relocation Proposal

A House subcommittee hearing on the relocation proposals for two Department of Agriculture agencies highlights further contention regarding the move. USDA has proposed relocating the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to the Kansas City metro, Indiana, or to Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. Subcommittee chair Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat from the U.S. Virgin Islands, opened the hearing stating the proposal will “undermine the integrity of these agencies and their ability to operate.” The National Farmers Union contends the proposal is already damaging the industry, as experienced researchers scramble to find new jobs, alleging that NIFA and ERS have both “lost decades of institutional knowledge.” However, the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, Mike Conaway, states, “There is nothing that prevents USDA’s mission from extending outside of the beltway.” Conaway adds, “The elitist notion that all wisdom and knowledge stems from Washington, D.C. is offensive to me and should be offensive to anyone who resides in rural America.” Conaway called the hearing a distraction that fails to focus on the pressing issues facing agriculture today, such as farm income, weather and trade.




From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters.